I know I haven’t posted one of these in a while. But for those of you joining us, this is from a survey of the Northwest Urban Renewal Area, which later got broken up into Downtown and Shaw, from 1957. It is like an awesome census of the churches in the area, from the steeple churches that one thinks of when thinking about what a church looks like, to storefront and house churches. There hasn’t been another survey like this since.
Anyway. This time up it is Grace Reformed Church, at 1405 15th St NW. It was a white church in 1957, and the current occupants Christ Reformed Church appears to be a predominately white congregation. In 1957, very few of the members lived in the NW Urban Renewal Area, a majority lived in other parts of NW DC and another chunk lived in the burbs. They were mainly white collar, dare I guess, middle class worshipers.
CS 60 Grace Reformed by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
I mentioned this one earlier this month, well its school, as it is one of 3 private schools in Shaw. Anywho, St. Augustine is at 1717 15th St NW, on the upper end of the neighborhood.
It was a big church with a chunk of the parishioners (50%) in the urban renewal survey area. I’m a convert to the church, but the sense I get is back then, when this survey was conducted, there were parish districts and you were supposed to go to the church for the district you lived in. Another interesting thing about the demographics is that it had a tiny white population, 3%, while the rest was Black. It is still a predominately African American Catholic Church.
Anyway, here’s the 1957 survey for St. Augustine:
CS 30 St Augustine by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
I should sneak a Shaw church in this run of random churches. Vermont Avenue Baptist is at 1630 Vermont Avenue NW.
In 1957 Vt Av was a HUGE church claiming 3,600 members. They had 3 Sunday services with over two thousand congregants showing up on any given Sunday. It was a predominately white collar Black church with 41% living in the urban renewal area. About half the membership lived in the rest of DC. So about 1000 people coming in on Sunday, where did they park?
CS 20 Vermont Ave Baptist by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
Not in Shaw but it is in LeDroit Park just in front of Shaw. Close.
Florida Avenue Baptist Church sits at 623 Florida Avenue NW. The 1957 Church Survey provides no useful information. See for yourself.
CS 48 Florida Avenue Baptist by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
When you think Southern Baptist, what comes to mind? A Black church? Probably not, but that’s just what we have here. Southern Baptist Church at 134 L St NW. If memory serves me right, I believe there’s a bus in their parking lot that says “We Love Black People.” The church sits in NoMa so, not in Shaw.
Anyway there isn’t a lot of information in the 1957 survey, except they are a black church, they had a huge membership (1,300 souls), and the church was newish then.
CS 15 Southern Baptist by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
I’m not even going to search for a photo. But do a quick and dirty post for Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church at 1518 M St NW. In 1957 it was a big church, with 1200 members in 1957, with about 400 showing up on any given Sunday. The professional majority were skilled laborers, followed by Professionals and white-collar members. It was and is, as far as I can tell, still a Black church. It does not give a breakdown but claimed many members lived in the Northwest Urban Renewal area under study at the time.
CS 53 Metropolitan AME by Mm Inshaw on Scribd
Okay, another random church not in Shaw but still around. St. Mary is in Fake Chinatown/ Gallery Place at 727 5th St NW. As far as data goes, this is almost useless. They can say 10% of the congregation was Black in 1957. I’d like to know if any of the congregation is Chinese. Because it would be nice to know how less fake Chinatown was in the 50s.
Anyway, here’s the survey.
CS-55-St Mary Mother of God… by on Scribd
Turner Memorial AME is not in Shaw. It was at 600 Eye Street NW in 1957. It is currently in PG County Maryland. As you may know the synagogue at 6th and I is there, and according to their history page, Turner AME was at 5th and P St (a Shaw church?) and bought the synagogue in 1951. In 2002 Turner AME put the church building up for sale.
Quick look at the survey page, it was a large Black church where half of the members were unskilled laborers. So a working class African-American church. The survey says it was at 5th and D, but the Turner Memorial website says it was founded in 1919 at 5th and P, so let’s go with that.
CS 54 Turner Memorial AME by on Scribd
Last year there was a very nice vegetarian spread. I write this as unapologetic meat eater. Anyway, heads up there will be a big ole health fair on the 1600 block of 4th St NW on July 28th.
As I remember there was a professional masseuse last year for the massages. And there is a lot of fair stuff- face painting, moon bounce, etc.
The big deal about the fair is that the three sponsors, 4th St Fellowship, Mt. Sinai, and Masjid Muhammad would all have health fairs at different times. So for the past couple years they combined their powers, to create the biggest Truxton Circle health fair, ever. I’ll be there, mainly to nosh on free vegetarian food.
I have a few of these, churches outside of Shaw but part of the larger Northwest Urban Renewal Project Area. Notable notes are that Church of the Holy City at 1611 16th St NW was a white church in 1957 and kinda small. The congregants who showed up on an average Sunday was 60. Being white, not a lot of members lived in the survey area (the Northwest Urban Renewal Area), half lived in other parts of DC and the other half lived out in the burbs.
CS-57-Church of the Holy City by on Scribd